This summer an unusually high number of people have drowned in Sweden, probably because it was so damn hot. And as a response to this, the Swedish Lifesaving society (Svenska livräddningssällskapet – shit, how many syllables do you need in one word…) has demanded better swimming education in schools and in society in general.
In fact it has often been said to me that “You should really learn to swim, so that you don’t drown!”.
The obvious hole in this argument is that if you can’t swim, then you don’t ever go near the fucking water. All the people who drown in Sweden this summer could swim to some extent, and did it help them? No, not really.
Then people tell me “but think if you fall off a boat, or from a bridge!”. Seriously, look me in the eye and tell me that you really believe that is going to happen. Fall off a boat? Get a fucking grip please, if I’m on a boat then I have a lifejacket on and I cling to the rail like a limpet. And when on bridges I tend not to balance on the edge too much.
The solution to this drowning problem is simple – if you want people to not drown, then you keep them out of the fucking water. I come from a country where far less that half the population can swim, and I don’t know anybody that drown, even though my father and grandfather fished for many years in a little crappy boat without lifejackets on.
Teaching people to swim better just inflates their egos and make them even more daring and stupid. So my suggestion is compulsory anti-swimming lessons, where you condition people with electric shocks and Westlife songs to forget how to swim. That way, they will all hide under a big parasol on the beach like me, reading a nice SF book and cut their risk of drowning to absolute zero.
And problem solved!
/ paddy (always looking out for you)